DAYTON — The first pitch in over a year at Day Air Ballpark is coming in May and the Dayton Dragons are busy preparing the stadium for what will be a very different Minor League Baseball season in Dayton.
“It’ll be great to open up the gates to Day Air Ballpark and let fans back in and see what we haven’t seen in some time,” said Eric Deutch, Dayton Dragons Executive Vice President. ““It was a tough year for a lot of people and a lot of industries.”
With the entire 2020 Minor League Baseball season cancelled, the Dragons are set to return to the field in early May and the first home game is set for May 11.
Gov. Mike DeWine hinted at a future announcement about stadium capacities for the upcoming season, saying 30 percent capacity might be a good starting point for fans cheering on their favorite ball clubs.
“We’re getting some really good indications from the state Governor’s office about letting more people in the ballpark,” Deutch said.
The Dragons worked during the last year with its partners at Kettering Health Networks, Alpha & Omega cleaning services, HVAC and other industry experts ““so when people do come it’s going to be a very safe environment,” Deutch said.
Fans should expect to see things like touchless tickets, concessions, restrooms, sanitation devices and plexiglass dividers, which is not unlike what many other industries have implemented.
“I think we’ve got a very good game plan,” Deutch said.
Specific details about the game day experience have not been disclosed yet, but the team acknowledges the challenges with reduced capacity and tickets.
“It is going to be tough situation for us on ticket management,” Deutch said. “There definitely will be a shortage of tickets.”
The team is asking fans and season ticket holders to be patient as they work through capacity issues with state and local officials.
Deutch said the last year has been challenging for the team amid the pandemic, having to tap into some of the pandemic loan programs to help with finances.
“It was a tough financial year. We definitely had to apply for some of the loan programs and such,” Deutch said. “Debt is never a fun word, but we have some debt now that we’re back on our feet.”
Despite that, the experience of Dayton Dragons baseball is coming back and the team is ready for the challenge.
“We’ll crawl and walk and run and hopefully everything will get back to normal once we get to the other side,” Deutch said.
© 2021 Cox Media Group